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Nisky' targets areas for Metroplex assistance

Officials say additions to offer opportunities for businesses, development

The former Korean United Methodist Church of Albany at the corner of Balltown Road and River Road in Niskayuna is the next building town officials are looking to redevelop.

The former Korean United Methodist Church of Albany at the corner of Balltown Road and River Road in Niskayuna is the next building town officials are looking to redevelop. Photo by John Purcell.

— He said Metroplex has approved project grants, expenditures and loans totaling more than $143 million. Metroplex has funded 155 façade grants countywide, but he said Niskayuna has yet to receive one.

“We haven’t had as many areas placed in the Metroplex Service District,” he said. “We do have some business in the Town of Niskayuna I think would benefit from this (façade program).” Metroplex originally had a service district totaling 24 square miles along Routes 5 and 7, centering at downtown Schenectady, but Metroplex has expanded its influence to around 85 square miles. According to 2010 U.S. Census data, Schenectady County is nearly 205 square miles. The largest portions of the county not under development area coverage are in Duanesburg and Princetown.

Last year, Chairman of Metroplex Ray Gillen said Niskayuna fixed its three most blighted areas, the former St. James Square being the largest, so he said the town is looking to continue its progress.

“Niskayuna has been very careful about developments and wants develop in areas were they can replace empty buildings and empty space,” Gillen said. “It is a very careful smart growth strategy and they are trying to continue that in adding in other areas.”

Resident Leslie Gold commended Gillen’s leadership at Metroplex, but was concerned what could happen once Gillen leaves his post. Gold said previous leadership was determined to get projects approved that were “inconsistent” with the town’s vision.

Gold also expressed concern toward adding Residential and Professional zoned areas into the expansion, in particular on Balltown Road where she argued there are traffic issues already.

“We already have major traffic problems that are unresolved,” Gold said. “We don’t know when they will be resolved, because most of it is dependent on the state.”

Gillen said the next area the town is focusing on redeveloping is the former Korean United Methodist Church of Albany, which is located near the corner of Balltown Road and River Road.

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